By: Brian Gunn
Blood Alloy: Reborn is an attempt by developer Suppressive Fire Games to salvage a promising Kickstarter that failed to meet its goals. To that end they’ve translated the mechanics of their high-action Metroidvania pitch into something of an arcade combat game, to mixed results.
While Blood Alloy: Reborn is a side scroller, it has more in common with stylish action games like Vanquish and Devil May Cry than most other indie efforts. While the sheer amount of enemies means you’ll be relying on guns primarily, there are also melee weapons, quick dodges, jet-pack sliding and a bunch of other cool tools at your disposal, all of which control fairly well.
It can get a little awkward in some circumstances involving lots of quick slides and jumps, however. Plus, despite the console game influence, keyboard and mouse actually feels the best, and the controller support currently suffers from some technical issues.
The visual style of Blood Alloy: Reborn leaves a bit to be desired. While in screenshots or at lower resolutions it looks fine, but at modern resolutions it can be quite ugly at times. Level design isn’t too shabby, but the lead character is kind of a blotchy mess. Enemies are hit or miss, and some are in need of designs to make them standout in a hectic battlefield a bit more.
Audio wise, the title fares better. There’s a lot of fun electronic music that fits the game’s style quite well and over time you’ll unlock even more tracks via the game’s level up system. The powerful charge up attack sound effects land well, and I really liked the almost musical charge of the basic shooting attack. Enemies could probably use some more sounds to telegraph that they are around as it is very easy to move a bit and unexpectedly be crowded by a ton of them.
Blood Alloy: Reborn‘s main draw will be its mechanics. While you’ll start off shooting and melee attacking, you’ll quickly learn the tricks of slide dashing, double jumping and quick dodging. Attacks are then modified depending on your movement style.
For slide dashing turns your basic shot attack into a home spreading attack. Charging up a shot and releasing it while standing still unleashes a screen-filling blast, while doing it while moving will just do a slightly larger and more powerful version of a basic attack. A perfectly timed dodge allows for a Bayonetta-esque slowdown moment, and you can even reflect some projectiles back at enemies.
Levels are basic arenas with no real goal behind a good high score. Players will need to learn the best balance of attacks and movements quickly as enemies flood in rather fast. The game gets quite difficult rather fast, and the only way to heal is to get to a high multiplier combo.
In addition to the basic high-score chasing, each run contains three alternate goals for bonus points. These will vary from basic things like staying airborne for a certain amount of time to using certain mechanics enough times. This is actually a fairly common thing to see in mobile games, but I’m not sure it was a good fit here.
Quickly some odd goals are introduced like not attacking for a minute, which clashes against the rather fun mechanics. I’d have preferred to have these challenges be a wide list of goals you can earn at once rather than locking in three at a time.
Ultimately, though, Blood Alloy: Reborn suffers from a lack of content. There are only three levels, and there isn’t exactly a huge change from one to the next given the arena nature of the game. There’s an experience system allowing for a few upgrades, but the curve feels far too slow. Once you’ve leveled up a few times, the bar seems to move very little after a run, and grinding out the extra equipment or even arenas feels like a chore.
While the mechanics are in place for a fun and fairly unique experience, the current reality is that Blood Alloy: Reborn feels more like a prototype than a full-fledged game. It is hard to recommend it on its own merits, but I look forward to seeing what the developer might do in the future.